Should a policy triggering disciplinary action after a certain amount of absence be suspended in relation to employees with swine flu?

Given the nature of the swine flu pandemic, it may be sensible for employers to reconsider their disciplinary policy in relation to sickness absence where employees are sick with swine flu. If employees are concerned about disciplinary action, they may attend work when unwell or return to work before they are fully recovered. Not only are sick employees likely to perform poorly, but they also risk infecting other employees, which will result in increased staff absence.

In order to avoid these issues, employers may wish to advise employees that absence due to swine flu will not be taken into account when determining whether or not to take disciplinary action. The employer should make clear what evidence it will require that the absence was genuinely due to swine flu.